A regional daily has defended its decision to publish a photograph of two drug users on its front page.
The Worcester News has explained its decision to print the picture after the splash sparked a debate among readers over whether it was acceptable or not.
The photo, which was submitted by a News reader, showed the pair of addicts, with faces obscured, openly using drugs in Worcester city centre.
In a follow-up to the story, the News reported that some readers were “happy” the newspaper was highlighting the issue, while others felt using the photo had been “intrusive”.
In the piece, which contained a number of reader comments arguing both for and against the photo’s inclusion, deputy editor John Wilson said: “It is a newspaper’s job to shine a light on important issues, even though they are sometimes extremely sensitive.
“Although police say they are tackling drug crime, people are clearly disturbed by the squalid things they are seeing in Worcester city centre.
“Indeed, it was one of our readers who supplied the photograph we used on our front page last Monday, though we protected the identity of the two people pictured. This was clearly a story of great public interest, and we reported it in a responsible and non-judgemental way.
“We hope those drug users who frequent the city centre are now given more help to beat their addiction. And that traders, shoppers and children will be free to go about their businesses without encountering such distressing scenes.”